Healing, Hope, Perspectives, Words of Endurance

A cheerful disposition is good for your health;
gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

Yeah! It is about time! Scientists are now confirming what the ancient wisdom of the Bible has said all along – a good attitude is good for your health!

A sound mind makes for a robust body,
but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

Positive emotions can extend our life span and improve our physical and mental well-being. A study of Harvard graduates revealed that the way in which young men explained negative events – whether pessimistically or optimistically – indicated several physical health outcomes decades later. Specifically, optimism in early life predicted good health later in life.

Alastair Cunningham, PH.D, senior scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute asked experts to predict the life span of patients with incurable cancer. Cunningham and his team then gathered data on each patient’s attitudes and behaviors as they expressed their feelings about cancer and the support they received from fellow victims during weekly group therapy sessions. The patients who worked the hardest at transforming themselves psychologically lived at least three times longer than predicted.

Dr. Susan S. Knox who studies the interaction of psychology and physiology at the NIH (National Institute of Health) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says, “Emotional factors have a major impact on physical health.” She describes negative emotions as “worrying incessantly, feeling friendless and flying off the handle,” and says that such emotions “often lead to weaker immune systems, higher rates of heart disease and other major health problems.”

In a broad-based study of adults, age 65 and older, positive emotion was shown to be a strong predictor of how long people lived. Happy people were half as likely to become disabled when compared to people who were generally sad. In addition, those who live happy lives have a greater tolerance for physical pain than those who are sad.

It has also been reported that people who rate in the upper reaches of happiness on psychological tests develop about 50 percent more antibodies than average in response to flu vaccines. In addition, happiness or related mental states like hopefulness, optimism and contentment appear to reduce the risk or limit the severity of cardiovascular disease, pulmonary, diabetes, hypertension, colds and upper respiratory infections.

I don’t know about you but this is proof enough for me that I want to live the rest of my life not worrying incessantly and pessimistically but hopeful, optimistic and most of all content with whatever my circumstances. And you may wonder how a worrywart like me is going to achieve this sound mind? Well, I am going to follow the advice that the Apostle Paul shared with the Philippians …

Don’t fret or worry.
Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises
shape your worries into prayers,
letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness,
everything coming together for good,
will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens
when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends,
I’d say you’ll do best
by filling your minds and meditating
on things true, noble, reputable,
authentic, compelling, gracious—
the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly;
things to praise, not things to curse.
Put into practice what you learned from me,
what you heard and saw and realized.
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together,
will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

On the Journey with You,
Dave Dravecky


Fear, Hope, Perspectives, Words of Endurance

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

It is impressive the power our attitudes have on our life experiences and outcomes. Yet many of us don’t even realize the power our attitudes – positive or negative – wield.

Consider the response leadership expert John Maxwell received when he asked an audience to name what most determines happiness, acceptance, peace, and success. The audience responded – job – education – money – time. Almost as an afterthought, someone said “attitude.” Maxwell responded …

“… attitude is the primary force that will determine
whether we will succeed or fail.”

Attitudes have been influencing people’s lives and future opportunities for thousands of years. King Solomon, for example, was the richest and wisest man who ever lived but he definitely had attitude problems. His attitude put a sour taste on the best life had to offer:

Everything I wanted I took—I never said no to myself.
I gave in to every impulse, held back nothing.
I sucked the marrow of pleasure out of every task—
my reward to myself for a hard day’s work!
Then I took a good look at everything I’d done,
looked at all the sweat and hard work.
But when I looked, I saw nothing but smoke.
Smoke and spitting into the wind.
There was nothing to any of it. Nothing.

King Solomon’s attitude apparently did not improve as time went on. Notice what happened to the nation of Israel as a result of Solomon’s arrogant attitude:

So the Lord said to Solomon,
“Since this is your attitude and
you have not kept my covenant and my decrees
which I commanded you,
I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you
And give it to one of your subordinates.”
1 KINGS 11:11

Our attitudes not only affect us – they affect others as well. As John Maxwell points out …

“There’s only one thing more contagious
than a good attitude – a bad attitude.
A negative attitude hurts
rather than helps the person who has it.
And it also hurts the people around him.”

If you want to know how true Maxwell’s statement is – just ask Moses. When he sent the twelve spies into the Promised Land ten of them said …

“We can’t attack those people; they’re stronger than we are”

The fearful, faithless attitude of ten men quickly spread to the entire nation of Israel. By nightfall – two to three million people were wailing and grumbling! That is attitude power out of control! In the end, the nation of Israel remained in the wilderness and for decades forfeited the hope and opportunity of the Promised Land.

Attitudes may seem insignificant and cause little consequence but truth be told attitude can be life changing – for better or for worse – our choice. No wonder the Scriptures tell us to …

Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind
having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude.

On the Journey with You,
Dave Dravecky


Healing, Hope, Perspectives, Words of Endurance

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person
by changing the way you think.

Renewing our attitude can be a lot tougher than many would think especially if you find yourself in the valley of pain and suffering. Stay there in the valley long enough and you may find yourself in a rut that seems impossible to climb out of.

I don’t want in any way to minimize or trivialize the deep difficult ruts in which people who are suffering find themselves. There is no doubt that adversity and stress rob us of some (and at times many) of the good experiences and enjoyment of life. But the fact is our attitude makes a huge difference in how we face life – especially when we are suffering.

If we are suffering a bad attitude can take us even lower than we are and who in their right mind wants that? On the other hand, it is wonderful to experience the amazing quality that a good attitude brings in the midst of difficult circumstances. The approach we take is up to us. Will we accept the adversity and face what we have to face or will we not accept it – fight against what we cannot change and make our rut even deeper and doubly more difficult to endure?

I have done both. At first, I was so consumed by my pain and suffering that all I could think about was my survival – not my attitude. I fought my adversity – I resented it. But then my burden was lightened when I learned that I may not have a choice about my circumstances but I did have a choice about my attitude towards my circumstances. And then I read …

“A cross which comes from God ought to
be welcomed without any concern for self.
And when you accept your cross this way,
even though it is painful, you will find that
you can bear it in peace. But when you
receive your cross unwillingly, you will
find it to be doubly severe. The resistance
within is harder to bear than the cross
itself! But if you recognize the hand of God,
and make no opposition to His Will,
you will have peace in the midst of affliction.
Happy indeed are they who can bear their
sufferings with this simple peace and perfect submission to the will of God!
Nothing so shortens and soothes suffering
as this spirit of non-resistance.”

There is no magic formula for renewing our attitude – at times it can seem impossible. But this I know – my first step was to accept my circumstances. I could do that because I trusted God with all my heart. I knew He was in the midst of my painful trial and He was trustworthy.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice
in everything you do,
everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.

On the Journey with You,
Dave Dravecky


Peace, Perspectives, Words of Endurance

We’ve all seen it – the attitude that turns an athlete into a champion – that turns an ordinary soldier into a hero – that turns an entertainer into a star – that turns a failure into an honorable legacy. Those of us who are close to cancer and its survivors see it every day as well. We see the attitudes that turn wounded sufferers into survivors.

I know as well as anyone that attitude isn’t everything. It won’t turn a klutzy, uncoordinated person into a world-class athlete or an off-key singer into an American Idol. As important as attitude is, some patients with inspiring positive attitudes will succumb to their illness while others with negative attitudes will survive.

But I do know that having the positive attitude towards life – with all its pitfalls and detours – sure does help to make the journey so much easier to endure! During my bout with cancer Chuck Swindoll encouraged me in his book, Strengthening Your Grip. I learned that while I may not have a choice regarding what happens to me but I do have a choice on how I react to it. I share his observation with you so that you, too, may be encouraged – no matter what your circumstances…


The longer I live
the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.
Attitude to me is more important than facts.
It is more important than education,
than money than circumstances,
than failures, than successes,
than what other people think or say or do.
It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.
It will make or break a company … a church … a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day
regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.
We cannot change our past …
we cannot change the fact
that people will react in a certain way.
We cannot change the inevitable.
The only thing we can do is play on the one string
we have and that is our attitude …
I am convinced that life is 10% what happens
And 90% how I react to it.

Amen Chuck! I love this! I have kept this quote on the wall of my office for many years!

You may feel that you cannot change your attitude if you are going to be real – I understand. But I challenge you to be real before God – acknowledge that you do not have the best attitude with what you are going through. After you surrender your attitude to God – then watch Him change your attitude and experience His peace – which is beyond our understanding! The Apostle Paul encourages us by saying …

Summing it all up, friends,
I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds
and meditating on things true,
noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—
the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly;
things to praise, not things to curse.
Put into practice what you learned from me,
what you heard and saw and realized.
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together,
will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

On the Journey with You,
Dave Dravecky